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Davis-Monthan AFB exercise balances flexibility, survivability, lethality

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An HC-130J Combat King II rests on the flightline while 355th Wing Airmen unload cargo during exercise Pegasus Forge, Jan. 28, 2019, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. One of the primary goals during this exercise was to balance flexibility, survivability and lethality to provide options for combatant commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Anmoledeep Sandhu, 354th Fighter Squadron crew chief, changes the tire on an A-10 Thunderbolt II during exercise Pegasus Forge Jan. 28, 2019. During Exercise Pegasus Forge, the 355th Wing’s dynamic forward adaptive basing team’s mission was to wield rapid combat power from a position of advantage with minimal footprint. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

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Staff Sgt. Matthew Lara and Staff Sgt. Drake Burch refuel an A-10 Thunderbolt II during exercise Pegasus Forge Jan. 28, 2019, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. Lara and Burch are members of the forward area refueling and rearming point team whose mission is to supply aircraft in remote locations when air-to-air refueling is not possible or when refueling stations are not accessible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- Landing in an austere location, a small number of Airmen move at a rapid pace to accomplish a very specific mission. With only the supplies needed to survive for a week, they begin to unload food, shelter and equipment. After unloading, they set up a campsite as home base for their operations.

During this joint-force readiness exercise, known as Pegasus Forge, the 355th Wing’s dynamic forward adaptive basing team deployed a small number of A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and a team of hybrid Airmen from squadrons throughout the wing. The Airmen’s mission was to wield rapid combat power from a position of advantage with minimal footprint.

“We have a handful of Airmen who are all working outside of their normal [air force specialty codes],” said Maj. Gary Glojek, 354th Fighter Squadron A-10 pilot. “Our goal is to balance flexibility, survivability and lethality to provide options for combatant commanders.”

Ready at a moment’s notice, these teams are equipped with cross-functional Airmen and an adequate amount of supplies in order to provide close air support at a forward off ground location.

“We need to have the ability to fly effective sorties from a location where we have minimal assets and still be efficient and lethal,” said Staff Sgt. Anmoledeep Sandhu, 354th FS crew chief.

While the exercise tested effectiveness and efficiency, sustaining Davis-Monthan AFB’s ability to demolish adversaries is no trivial charge. Because this exercise was the first of its kind, it also served as a learning experience for many of the Airmen and their supervisors.

“We realized there were a few stumbling blocks with equipment and needing spare parts,” Sandhu said. “This didn’t hinder our performance for the mission. We adapted fairly quickly and were able still be effective in completing our tasks.”

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